Close Reading Practice Passages: High School

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How and Why We Read: Crash Course English Literature #1
In this YouTube video (7:00), author John Green explains the value of close, critical reading. A great activity to establish a rationale for close reading.

Benjamin Franklin’s Satire of Witch Hunting
This exercise in close reading includes background information, a printable student handout, and an interactive activity.

Close Reading Satire
This close reading strategy is discussed in the context of "A Modest Proposal" but will work with any piece of satire.

Gettysburg Address
A thorough unit plan with text, discussion questions and commentary, related links, vocabulary. Designed for grades 9, 10. 29 pages; word processor required.

Close Reading through Repetition
Students annotate and analyze a passage. The model uses an excerpt from The Things They Carried but will work with other passages, too.

"Living Like Weasels" by Annie Dillard
Students will discover the rich language and life lesson embedded in Dillard’s text. By reading and rereading the passage closely and focusing their reading through a series of questions and discussion about the text, students will be equipped to unpack Dillard’s essay. When combined with writing about the passage, students will learn to appreciate how Dillard’s writing contains a deeper message and derive satisfaction from the struggle to master complex text. Includes text. Designed for grades 11, 12. 20 pages; word processor required.

A "New English" in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart : A Common Core Exemplar
Students discover and evaluate the "new English" that has made Achebe "the father of African literature" and has placed Things Fall Apart on high school reading lists worldwide. This close reading exposes students to a unique point of view and foreign cultural experience and serves to expand their base of world literature. Students identify the linguistic and literary techniques Achebe uses to convey a sense of Igbo culture. They analyze the impact of the traditional oral elements to unlock the meanings and messages of the novel.

One-Page Fiction Readings: Grades 8-10
Links to 9 printable passages. Adobe Reader required.

One-Page Nonfiction Readings: Grades 8-10
Links to 29 printable passages with skill development indicated. Adobe Reader required.

Their Eyes Were Watching God : Folk Speech and Figurative Language
Students observe how Hurston creates a unique literary voice by combining folklore, folk language, and traditional literary techniques. They will examine the role that folk groups play in their own lives and in the novel. They will undertake a close reading of passages in the novel that reveal Hurston’s literary techniques and determine their impact on the novel.